Friday, July 16, 2010

iPhone, and the Mystery of the Missing Bars

What the hell is going on at Apple lately? I can only imagine the whole company has been working around the clock since iPhone 4 dropped. Or at least I hope they are. There has been tons of craziness about the new iPhone, but I'm not too concerned with that. What I am worried about is what the newest operating system means for my current iPhone, which is a measly iPhone 3G, and at this point is two iPhone generations old.

Facing a deluge of complaints from websites and consumers about iPhone 4, Apple
comically announced that the formula that decides how many signal bars your phone is receiving has been incorrect on the OS since 2007! The Huffington Post quoted Apple saying: "[Users'] big drop in bars is because their high bars were never real in the first place." WHAT?! How is that acceptable?! AT&T's coverage has been crappy to begin with, but it turns out it's crappier then you think?! On Thursday, July 15th Apple released an updated version of iOS 4 that fixes the issues with the wayward bars. I updated my phone as soon as the update was available. My wife also has a 3G phone, but we held off updating her OS so we could compare the bars.

These are two photos I took with our phones inches apart, so they're receiving the same amount of signal from the local tower.

This is my wife's phone.
She has nearly full bars

And this is my phone. Just one bar.
(Yes, I have two Star Wars apps on my home screen. Don't judge me!)

Is this progress? Not really. Apple claims this is something they discovered recently, but one can't help but wonder if they knew this all along and this was a meager attempt to help with all the flack they've been getting from the iPhone 4 fiasco.

All this being said, do the bars really matter? What difference does it make if you have full bars, or just one, as long as you can make and receive calls? I'm sure we've all been in situations where your friend had no bars and been able to make a call and we've had full bars and can't even dial out (and that's not a slam on AT&T).

And yes I realize that these are silly things to worry about. We could all live out our lives happily without ever picking up a cell phone again. In this capitalist society we have high expectations for the purchases we make, and more importantly we want to feel that we own the fanciest gadgets available. So it shouldn't be a surprise that when our tech-nerd status gets called into question we might lash out.

Belly Buster

So I'm exercising again. I say again because this has been a start and stop process over the past few years. I'm overweight, and it's kind of a bummer. I mean, I don't have trouble fitting into an airplane seat, and I don't get winded walking up a couple flights of stairs, but I know it's not healthy. And I'd also like all of my clothes to fit better again.

So once again, I'm exercising. But this time it's going to be different.

I know. I know. That's what I say every time, but I'm starting to learn what my limits are and what is or is not realistic for me. The last few attempts to get in shape involved gym memberships. Not only are they pricey, but I felt so self-conscious in front of other people. Plus there was the inconvenience of it. It's hard enough finding the motivation to exert myself, but now I have to get up and leave the house to do it? No way! So this time I thought I'd keep it close to home. Leslie and I bought the EA Sports Active Game for the Wii. How much closer to your home can you get then your living room?

We fooled around with it a bit and then it sat unused on our entertainment center for a while. Now I've got a program going with it. It's a 30 day work out challenge and I'm about halfway through with it.

That's the other flaw in my quest for fitness. Once I start working out I always brag to everyone in the world about it, how I'm doing this and that. Then because I made the mistake of telling people, they ask how I'm doing with it. Have I seen a difference? How often do I do it? Next thing I know it's all this imaginary pressure and I can't take it and I just quit. This time I wanted to keep up with it for a few weeks before I told anyone.

This week I completed the game's 30 Day Challenge, which is 20 days of work outs and 10 days of rest. With the 30 day challenge every day they throw a handful of exercises at you. Some are a little tough (fuck you in-line skating!) and some are pretty easy. Each session runs about 20 minutes and there's usually 18 or so activities. The personal trainer in the game is a bit of a douche, but otherwise the game is pretty fun. The activities are different enough that I don't get bored, and that's important to me. There is a lot of running in place type stuff, and there is also the sport stuff Wii is known for like tennis and basketball. What's frustrating is that the workout will start and they'll say, "Today we're going to focus on upper body!" and then you have to do 15 sets of lunges. And I fucking hate lunges.

My daily routine is that I wake up around 5 am, go downstairs to the living room to work out, shower and then go to work. The program suggests that you take a day off every two days, but I've been working out Monday through Friday and taking Saturdays and Sundays off. It doesn't seem to mind that I ignore its advice on rest, just so long as I'm not gone for too long. Outside of the living room I also make attempts to cut out some of the awful stuff I typically eat. Granted, I probably still eat a bit more than I should, and in a job like mine it's hard to turn away food, but I'm making an effort.

Now the big question: Have there been any results? Yes and no. I've noticed a slight difference in the way my clothes fit. Also I can tell that some of the exercises in the game are becoming a bit easier, so hopefully that means I'm increasing my endurance and/or stamina.

And that's where I'm at. I'm exercising. I'm never going to be a super thin or fit guy, but if I make an effort maybe I can get a bit healthier. Don't keep and eye out for me showing up at the neighborhood pool in a Speedo any time soon, but don't think I can't handle a nice long hike either.